You made a long list and checked it twice; well maybe five or six times. You have presents to wrap, cookies to make and a Christmas meal too; then their are the projects to finish, and the stuff to pack for the trips you will take…Oh, and don’t forget those end of year bills to pay. Is it even possible to be ready for Christmas?
When we read the book of Luke, we find out Mary and Joseph got ready for Christmas like so many will this week…road trip! Then their were the shepherds.
“And in the same region [where Jesus was born] there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.” Luke 2:8
The shepherds were pulling an all-nighter keeping sheep from being gobbled up by wolves when the angels appeared. They were doing exactly what they were responsible for when they encountered God at Christmas. Every one of us has responsibilities in this life. Take heart, in the midst of those responsibilities, Christmas is near.
Our readiness for receiving Jesus this Christmas is defined by our readiness to respond. So, let me encourage you to stop reading this and make a list of all the important things you have to do between now and Christmas.
Here is the list I made for myself:
Make some decisions about a 2017 family budget
Read the Advent devotional as a family each night
Prepare a meal for friends to encourage them in a difficult time
Read scripture regularly to feed the holy spirit within
Write a blog about being ready to receive Christ
Make progress on finding a children’s ministry director
Finalize plans for Christmas Eve services
Encourage, instruct and correct my children CONTINUOUSLY
Finish dad’s Christmas present
Now, there may be some things we need to take off our lists that aren’t actually important, but that is not my point. The Shepherds were out doing important things and we should be no different. Not many today have sheep to watch, but we all have a “flock” of something that needs our care. The key to being ready for receiving Christ this season is Colossians 3:23-24.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
Is it possible to be ready for Christmas? Yes! Whatever you do between now and Christmas, do it with an expectation that you will encounter God. When we have an encounter with God there are two choices. We can either continue on with what we were already doing or we can stop and respond. I encourage you to take a page out of the shepherds manual and go…
“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us’…And when they saw it [Jesus], they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.” Luke 2:15,17
When you go in faith, you will return having had a similar Christmas experience.
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” Luke 2:20
As you consider readiness for Christmas, I pray you are able to do the simple and the profound with a focus on the God who rules them both. Here are a few questions I think are helpful in any situation, but especially when preparing to celebrate Christ this Christmas.
- How can I make the things that I am already doing more meaningful?
- Is their anything that would keep me from responding to an encounter with the creator?